It’s unfortunate how military members are sometimes never recognized for the courage they displayed on the field of battle. Especially in cases when their ultimate sacrifice may have been the very reason why some of their comrades in arms arrived home alive and unscathed.
On October 17, 2005, in Samarra, Iraq, when deadly battles were the order of the day, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe rushed in amid flames to rescue six of his battle-buddies. The soldiers were trapped inside of a burning vehicle after being struck by an IED (improvised explosive device.) As a result of his heroism, Cashe lost his life.
President Donald J. Trump, upon learning of the young soldiers’ feat, and not being the type of guy to let this type of extreme patriotism go unnoticed, recently signed legislation which authorizes the deceased soldier to be posthumously awarded America’s highest award, the Medal of Honor.
In the past, for no good or apparent reason, a time limit of five years after a heroic deed was accomplished was placed on receiving the award. It didn’t erase the deed, but it did erase all hope of ever receiving recognition should it not be discovered until way after the fact. Such as the case with Sgt. Cashe.
President Trump signed into effect H.R. 8276, which eliminates the five-year rule. A hero is a hero is a hero. The bill passed without any objection from the U.S. House of Representatives and flew right through the U.S. Senate by unanimous vote. Trump had no questions before quickly picking up a pen and affixing his signature.
Because of the medal’s tremendous significance, H.R. 8276, though waiving the five-year requirement, does not eliminate the need for proper protocol when requesting it be presented. The Department of Defense must receive a formalized recommendation detailing the nature of the events surrounding the request.
Then and only then is to be submitted to the President of the United States for final review and approval. The buck either stops or continues in the Oval Office. Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller is who presented the recommendation to Trump, who needed no urging.
The bill was initially sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), and RepCrenshaw (R-TX). Waltz has the distinguished honor of being the first U.S. Army Green Beret to ever warm a seat in Congress, and Crenshaw is an ex-U.S. Navy SEAL who is now filling one of those same seats. Cashe will be the first black service member who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the award.
In greater detail, in Oct of 2005, an IED struck the vehicle Cashe was in. Though thrown from the vehicle he was for the most part uninjured. Dodging enemy bullets Cashe continually rushed back to the burning vehicle to one-by-one rescue the six soldiers still trapped inside.
Cashe received second and third-degree burns on over 70% of his body, and after 22 days of agony, died from his injuries on November 8, 2005. He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery under fire, but at the time there were problems with gathering up the right witnesses and proper evidence of his actions to warrant a Medal of Honor due to the fact of how the witnesses, once being saved, were still out fighting at the time.
Since the witnesses to the scene have now verified all accounts of what happened on that fateful day in Iraq, the new bill signed by Trump now allows credit to be given when credit is due.
Immediately upon Trump signing the legislation, Rep. Murphy said, “Now that we have enacted bipartisan legislation to remove the only obstacle standing in the way of Alwyn receiving the Medal of Honor, which the Department of Defense has already concluded he earned, I hope the President will move swiftly to announce the award.”
He will. No doubt about it. Thank you, President Trump. Cashe previously received the Silver Star for his heroics, but difficulties with gathering witnesses and evidence of his actions complicated slowed an earlier attempt to recognize Cashe with the Medal of Honor, according to Military.com. Having missed the initial five-year window for awarding the Medal of Honor, H.R. 8276 had to be drafted and passed by Congress and the president.